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Comic Book / Mister Miracle (2017)

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Is he a master of spectacular trickery or is he something more?
Did you actually, really escape?
I mean, death, right?
Did you escape death, Mister Miracle?

Mister Miracle is a 12-issue miniseries by Tom King (The Vision (2015) and Batman (Tom King)) and Mitch Gerads as a part of the DC Rebirth initiative.

This is a tale of Scott Free, better known across the galaxy as the New God, Mister Miracle: escape artist extraordinaire. He has everything any other man in his position could ask for: a gorgeous (and badass) wife in the form of Big Barda, fame, the title of a superhero! It's a good life... right?

   Darkseid is.   

But one day, Scott had an incident, but he allegedly claims he was attempting to escape the one thing no one else had ever attempted to escape before: Death itself.

   Darkseid is.   

Even as he recovers, one gets the feeling that all is not well with Scott. His half-brother Orion is a bigger jerk than usual. And how are Barda's eyes brown instead of blue, like he remembers? Was Scott really escaping death? Or has the greatest escape artist in the universe found himself in a much bigger trap? A trap not even he can escape from?

One thing's for sure...

   Darkseid is.   

Tropes include:

  • A God Am I: The concept of this appears a few times in the story, and fairly justifiably so given that they are.
    • "Darkseid is." With these recurring words imposing themselves throughout the panels of the series, it really establishes that he really isn't merely a God of Evil. His sheer existence really means business for the universe, because Darkseid doesn't need to act. Darkseid is.
    • Scott frequently is subject to a conflict between this and A God I Am Not — on one hand, he just wants to live a quiet life as a normal human with his wife. On the other, his past won't stop coming back to haunt him, and the sheer amount of trauma that he endures and feels the need to escape from pulls up a question asked in the very first issue: "Is he a master of spectacular trickery or is he something more?" In a much lighter sense, he has a goofy coffee mug helpfully labelled "I am God."
    • Also Played for Laughs during a cutaway between two nameless Mooks on New Genesis, reminding you exactly what kind of place it is:
      Guard 1: Do you know anything about theology?
      Guard 2: Dude, I'm a god. I am theology.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Highfather, who is frequently referred to as being God, handed Scott over to Darkseid when he was a baby, and let's just say his life on Apokolips was... less than pleasant. Though whether he didn't care about Scott or was genuinely distraught by surrendering his son to the worst place in the universe isn't clear yet. In Scott's mind at least, Highfather was a shitty dad whose godhood overshadowed whatever humanity he could've had.
    • Granny Goodness, who raised both Scott and Big Barda, was horribly, horrendously abusive to the two of them, both physically and mentally, despite being secretly a mole for Highfather. Disturbingly, Scott appears to still harbor some affection for her, despite all the horrible things she's done to him.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Granny Goodness, normally Darkseid's most insidious and loyal lieutenant, is revealed to have been a mole for Highfather for years, and warns Scott of Orion's attempt to get him killed, before being killed by Big Barda.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The story as a whole gives its characters an extra edge of darkness, but some characters are played as even more antagonistic than usual.
    • Orion, normally The Hero of the New Gods mythos, is here an abusive, fascistic Jerkass, to the point that Scott suspects that he purposely instigated the war with Darkseid for power. Not to mention Orion's sudden acceptance of being Darkseid's son despite his entire character being his attempts to never turn out like his father. It's worth noting that the posthumous vision of Orion in the final issue is significantly less of a jerkass, only expressing soft disappointment with Scott's decision to stay in what may or may not be heaven.
    • Lightray likewise is The Dragon to Orion, and is shown having no problems with killing Forager when he speaks against Orion.
    • Issue #5 gives Funky Flashman this treatment as well, turning his normal Large Ham persona into someone who is happily willing to turn Scott's execution into a spectacle. This bounces back following his murder and Unexplained Recovery in later issues, where Scott and Barda entrust him as their nanny, where he remains good-mannered and handles the newly-born Jacob with love and care.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Orion doesn't do any of the actual fighting against Apokolips and when he pushes Scott just a little too far, he's easily bloodied and beaten.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Granny Goodness is bizarrely nice towards Scott and Barda and even makes them Jell-O... but then they see Stormforge chained up.
      Scott: That's ... Stormforge? He was ... is that him?
      Granny: Yes, dear, he led one of your armies against me. I'm starving him to death. But I like to have him watch others eat. It's so silly. Oh my, I hope that doesn't bother you. Does it?
    • The Female Furies, despite being on opposite sides as Scott, decide to be there at the hospital where Barda is giving birth, where they sit in the waiting room and casually talk to Scott like normal family members. Bernadeth even loans Scott a New God knife he can use if there are any complications (which does end up happening because Jacob comes out with the umbilical cord around his neck and the hospital equipment can't cut New God parts) while also telling him she intends to use it to kill him on the battlefield.
    • Kanto is pretty polite and friendly with Scott, casually speaking to him about a false relationship he had with Leonardo Da Vinci while they take a piss together. This is especially notable since Kanto kicked the shit out of him in the previous issue.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Despite antagonizing Scott and Barda for the entire first half, it's genuinely sad when Orion is found dead at his father's hands.
    • Despite never having been ever portrayed as sympathetic, the death of Granny Goodness at the hands of Barda is portrayed as more sad than anything especially after Orion desecrates her corpse by cutting her head off.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • It's clear that Kalibak has some issues with the fact that he's obviously not Darkseid's favorite son in spite of his loyalty.
    • In a Call-Back to the original Kirby series, Scott is still outmatched in combat skill by Kanto.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Forager accuses Orion of doing this, sending millions of bugs and thousands of normal soldiers to die against Darkseid's forces for the sake of minimizing god casualties. Scott himself is shocked that 250,000 troops have died, but Orion is more concerned with losing seven of their fellow Gods.
  • Analogy Backfire: Played for Laughs regarding Mad Harriet, whose odd rhyming speech pattern doesn't exactly add up to logical statements.
    Mad Harriet: You’re Scott Free! You’re gonna be! As dead as a tree!
    Lashina: Trees aren’t dead, you stupid #$%@.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: A variant: at the very start of the series, there's scene of a nameless boy drawing something, accompanied with narration explaining that the kid "drew God", his teacher responded by saying that "no one knows what God looks like," followed with the kid saying (in speech bubbles) "Yeah. Until now." Following Scott's endeavors regarding "seeing the face of God" throughout the series, the final issue shows the drawing kid in the exact same manner, but with different narration being that of a father explaining what actually is the Fourth World, with the kid's speaking to say that it's "the world I see when I close my eyes... and try to escape," revealing that the kid is a symbolic representation of Scott Free himself.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Before he leaves Jake with Darkseid, Scott is allowed a moment to tell his son how much he loves him, in spite of knowing that at his age, he most likely won't remember it.
  • Answers to the Name of God: Although all of the characters are gods in their own right, God a big G is applied to Darkseid and Highfather.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Scott is already considered to be one for the concept of freedom. But this series proposes that he's become one for the Anti-Life Equation itself.
  • Anti-Climax: Invoked. Mister Miracle goes to confront Orion about everything that's happened and things are set up for a battle between the two. He walks into the throne room and finds Orion dead and Darkseid standing over the body.
  • Anyone Can Die: Pretty much anyone bar Scott and Barda. Issue 1 reveals Oberon died prior to the series and that Highfather was killed offscreen by Darkseid. Issue 2 sees Barda killing Granny Goodness and Issue 3 sees Lightray killing Forager for speaking against Orion. Issue 5 ends with Barda killing Funky Flashman (though he inexplicably comes back with no acknowledgement in Issue 8) and Issue 6 ends with Orion lying dead before his throne, and Darkseid standing over his body. Issue 8 begins with Scott assassinating Vermin Vunderbar, and as Scott walks through the palace in Apokolips, the severed head of Big Bear from the Forever People is mounted on a pike. And finally, in issue 11 Darkseid is killed at Scott’s hand.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Darkseid is." The sentence is repeated over and over both in dialogue and in single panels, referencing the villain's omnipotence and looming presence, which also ties in with the series' general feeling of depression.
    • "Escape." Used to reference Mister Miracle's job as an escape artist, as well as his attempts to escape his own grief.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The series deliberately features all the characters in Jack Kirby's outrageous campy, colorful original costumes as a contrast to the dark and frequently disturbing mood.
  • Ascended Meme: Where does Darkseid choose to sit during his brief appearance as a vision in Scott and Barda's apartment in the final issue? The couch, of course!
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted with Orion. For all the shit and grief he gives Scott throughout the series, Scott is genuinely upset and horrified to find him dead.
  • Art Shift:
    • Briefly used when Funky Flashman relays the story that he and Jacob supposedly came up with together, drawn in a very crude crayon sketch on white paper. Amusingly, it still runs on the same nine-panel page format.
    • When Metron gives Scott and Barda a glimpse of the real DCU, everything is drawn in a much brighter, more fluid art style, providing a shocking contrast to the stilted and creepy look the series crafted for itself.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Discussed when Scott and Barda talk what to name their baby. Scott proposes a bunch of crazy, godly names like Ironbreaker and Starrazer, all of which Barda rejects. Subverted when they settle on Jacob.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A particularly warped and tragic example; its hinted that despite his claims to the contrary, Mister Miracle really does love Orion as a brother, as when Orion dies, Scott is legitimately horrified and grief stricken.
  • Back from the Dead: Despite Big Barda killing Funky Flashman in Issue 5, he is alive and well in Issue 8, serving as the nanny for Baby Jacob. No one comments on this or acknowledges it in any way.
  • Badass Boast: Darkseid has an understated, but horrifically effective one at the end of issue 6, after he kills Orion:
    Mister Miracle: What have you done?!
    "Darkseid does not do. Darkseid is."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Highfather tells Scott in the first issue that Darkseid has achieved his goal: he's obtained the Anti-Life Equation. The rest of the series is focused on combating his invasion of New Genesis and attempting to renegotiate for peace that in some way relinquishes this miracle find.
  • Bathos:
    • Due to being more accustomed to Earth culture and dialects, Scott's responses to the other New Gods' flowery way of speaking results in some amusing reactions to serious moments.
      Lightray: General Free! It is now declared that you are an agent of Darkseid! An enemy of the proud and free people of New Genesis!
      Scott: ...I'm going to go get some coffee.
    • After prodding Scott, Orion is suddenly sucker-punched in the face by him. This act of violence is such a case of O.O.C. Is Serious Business that even Orion is shocked by the attack... then he grabs a carrot from Scott and Barda's veggie tray and eats it.
    • In issue 11, Darkseid also eats a carrot from a veggie tray just before the big final battle. And then, Mister Miracle does it to when Metron arrives to explain everything.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Scott grows one while recovering in hospital after attempting suicide that he has for the series from that point onwards, getting especially bushy during the Time Skip after Jacob is born. He shaves it off at the start of the final issue, representing him finally making peace with his life.
  • Big "NO!": Scott loudly yells "No!" when he finds Orion dead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: So bittersweet that whether or not it's extraordinarily happy or extraordinarily depressing is up to the individual reader to decide: Darkseid is seemingly defeated, but so are many of Scott's loved ones, and it turns out almost all of the series is some kind of false reality dreamt up by Scott after succumbing to the Anti-Life Equation — theoretically a realm where he's doomed to be broken for eternity. Scott chooses not to escape... but it's because despite all the traumas he's endured, he found genuine hope and solace in the form of a son and a loving wife, and after travelling through hell and back to keep them safe, he decides that despite knowing how facetious the world may be, it's real enough for him.
  • Black Comedy: A lot. Grandiose Jack Kirby narration plays over horrific scenes like Big Barda bludgeoning Granny Goodness to death and Mister Miracle has some hilariously subdued reactions to the things happening to him, like asking that his treason trial be held in his house because he's got a package coming that he doesn't want to leave on the doorstep. At one point, Scott relates an absolutely horrific story Granny Goodness related to him when he was a child about a boy who accidentally got his whole family sent to the concentration camps, concluding with "And then she'd say, 'Merry Christmas.'"
  • Blatant Lies: Mister Miracle claims that him slitting his wrists was just part of his latest trick/adventure and that he was trying to "escape" death itself. It's pretty obvious that there's more to it than that and that everyone else is just humoring him when they agree.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than the original New Gods comics, by a massive degree. Every punch results in some form of visible blood and bruising, and the actual war against the parademons and other forces of Apokolips is depicted in viscerally messy detail.
  • Body Horror:
    • During the fight in issue 6, Mister Miracle is swallowed by a large aquatic dragon. He escapes by ripping his way out through the back of its neck. Then Barda uses its entrails as a makeshift bridge to cross a chasm.
    • On Issue #9, Scott sees himself (and Barda) as a flayed, disfigured near corpse when reflected on the "Mirror of Goodness", an artifact of Granny that shows every single bit of physical damage one has ever suffered.
      Barda: After every corrective surgery. Every skin graft. Every laser removal of whatever she'd done to make us look. And she'd said the same thing.
      Scott: "On the outside you are beautiful..."
      Barda: "And on the inside... You are mine."
  • Book Ends: Issue 1's cover shows Scott inside a trap during one of his shows,issue 12's show him outside the trap with Barda both waving at the public.
  • Boring, but Practical: Orion allows Scott to choose where he will have his trial. Scott chooses his living room. Despite Lightray's irritation, Orion agrees that it suits the purpose just fine.
  • Bottle Episode: Issue #7 is entirely about the lead-in to the birth of Scott and Barda's son. Outside of the beginning and a few cuts to the waiting room, the story in set entirely in a single room.
  • Breather Episode: Issue #5 is a downplayed example, as it mostly just Scott and Barda spending some time together. However, it takes on additional darkness in context as it's spent as what may possibly be their last day together as Scott is set to be executed by Orion soon after. Then the ending shows them breaking out from the plan.
  • Brick Joke: Issue #1 sees Scott getting the shit kicked out of him and being ordered to stand, to which he'll respond with "Standing." Issue #4 has Scott ask Orion if he should sit or stand. Orion orders him to do the former, and Scott complies.
    Orion: Sit.
    Scott: Sitting.
    Orion: Good.
  • Broad Strokes: It's not made clear how this series fits into the DC Rebirth timeline (Mister Miracle was reintroduced during the New 52 event Darkseid War, which ended with Barda separating from him, and has most recently reappeared in a cameo in Dark Nights: Metal), the setting established in The Multiversity (Scott and Barda are shown to reside on Earth 51, where all of Jack Kirby's DC creations now live), or the reality-bending Götterdämmerung of Final Crisis, which was vaguely hinted as still being in canon (due to Batman (Grant Morrison), which continued into the New 52, needing Final Crisis to remain intact to make sense). As far as the series seems to be concerned, it takes place in an ambiguous version of the pre-Final Crisis DC Universe. There's implied to be a reason for this weird distillation.
  • Brutal Honesty: The Female Furies are peaceable with Scott while Barda is giving birth, but also very blunt about the fact that this truce is temporary; they’re still planning to kill Scott the next chance they get.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lightray. Throughout the series he gets the crap kicked out of him numerous times and is constantly disrespected, and that's just by his allies.
    Lightray: You Apokolips scum! You killed Orion! My friend! My lord! My savior! I will burn all of you! I will laugh as I watch your ashes float away in a mild wind!
    Barda: Oh, shut the @$%# up, Lightray.
  • Call-Back: War has broken out between New Genesis and Apokolips, leading to Orion being killed by Darkseid. Again.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In the final issue, Scott is visited by a vision of the late Highfather, who approaches him claiming that even though Scott saw an escape out of the Anti-Life Equation-induced false world he's in, then "failed" to take it, he is still proud of him. Scott — having earnestly found peace within this reality, on top of being utterly tired of Highfather's emotional dissonance and history of unjustified mistreatmentsimply punches him to the ground, tells him to #$%@ off, and walks away with no further word.
  • The Cameo: While the series largely takes place within its own insular Fourth World realm, a few other DCU characters appear or are mentioned throughout the series:
    • They don't make a visible appearance, but in issue #1, Scott mentions that members of the Justice League messaged him during his hospitalization, with "Clark" showing up at his window the previous night.
    • Issue #7 features a rather cordial appearance of the Female Furies (specifically Bernadeth, Mad Harriet, Stompa, and Lashina), patiently waiting at the hospital as Barda goes into labor.
    • In issue #10, Scott goes out for drinks with Ted Kord and Booster Gold.
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
    Barda: You ... bastard.
    Darkseid is.
    Darkseid: Yes. I am.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: The entirety of Issue 6 is Scott and Barda fighting their way to Orion's throne room... while discussing redecorations to their condo. It's actually Barda's way of gently breaking the news to Scott that she's pregnant.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: Scott and Barda's backstory of being products of the hell world of Apokolips and a Forever War of gods has historically been treated as — while not exactly lighthearted — mostly an excuse to set up and justify a pulp-y series of superheroic action. This series takes a really hard dive into the actual severity of this upbringing, making no bones about the fact that even as the two have become reasonably well-adjusted people, it left behind a ton of mental and emotional scarring that still affects them.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The veggie trays that Scott and Barda enjoy return in Issue 11 as a hiding place for Scott's knife.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Barda is repeatedly mentioned as having brewed bonewine - an alcoholic drink made from dead gods - during her time on Apokolips. She later uses her skills to make a blade out of Orion’s bones, which Mister Miracle uses to kill Darkseid.
    • The veggie tray that Scott and Barda prepared is used to hide that same bone-blade.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Metron briefly appears in a vision early on, seemingly trying to warn Scott about something. He promptly disappears and is never mentioned again... until issue 11, where he appears to finally explain what’s been going on.
  • The Chosen One: Granny implies that Scott is a candidate to fulfill the prophecy of one of Darkseid's sons ultimately slaying the wrathful god even though he isn't one of his biological offspring.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Mister Miracle goes into an insane screaming fit of curses as he stabs Darkseid to death. Barda immediately complains about him swearing in front of Jacob.
  • The Comically Serious: Darkseid. Just like Orion, he grabs a bite from Scott and Barda's veggie tray and also allows Jacob to grab his nose.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The way Oberon is drawn strongly resembles Danny DeVito.
  • Continuity Nod: The gun Barda first uses against Darkseid uses energy from the Miracle Machine from Final Crisis.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Reimagines the world of the New Gods as this, with even the "good" ones - like Highfather and Orion - being arrogant and merciless beings who either look down on the mortal world or whose motives are impossible to understand. Darkseid is depicted as less of an evil god-king and more as something much worse, a force of pure evil impossible to escape or resist that toys with the universe and kills thousands if not millions of innocents not out of sadism, but simply because he has the power to do so.
  • Covers Always Lie: And so do synopses apparently, since the cover to Issue 7 shows the Furies holding Scott's mask and Barda's helmet in victory and the plot summary states that the Furies are hunting them. The actual issues shows the Furies calling a temporary truce with Scott and Barda so the latter can give birth to her child without fuss.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • While giving his handprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Scott catches sight of Jack Kirby's (fictional) handprints nearby.
    • The first page of Issue 12 features, among the audience, Tom King, Dan Didio, Jim Lee, Mitch Gerads and a slew of others.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Tom King continues to use the 9-panel layout he's been utilizing in his run on Batman.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In the form of bondage sex between Scott and Barda. No, really.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Issue 8, Scott ends up in a sanctioned duel with Kanto, taking place of Barda, who had to leave to take care of Jacob. Scott tries his best, but he easily gets the snot beat out of him and is carried out bloodied and on a stretcher.
  • Cute Monster: During the war montage in issue #8, Scott and Lightray briefly come across what appears to be a small, child-like parademon scavenging on a corpse. The two are unsure if it really is a child, Lightray suspecting it might just simply look like that. Either way, Lightray unflinchingly double-taps it once it attempts to pounce on them.
  • Darker and Edgier: Far, far darker than most DC material, with plenty of gorn and a very deconstructive approach to the entire New Gods mythos. Some scenes wouldn't be out of place in early Vertigo works.
  • Dead All Along: Turns out Scott's mentor, Oberon, passed on months before the events of Issue 1. So how did Scott have a conversation with him?
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Funky Flashman attempts to invoke this by suggesting that New Genesis set Scott's execution up as a second, successful suicide attempt. He tells this to Scott's face.
  • Decompressed Comic: A necessity for a comic that strictly adheres to telling the story through nine panels every page.
  • Deconstruction: Most of which is emphasizing the fact that the heroic Mister Miracle was a child who was raised on Apokolips. Other renditions don't show it much, but Scott has reasonable resentment towards his biological father for giving him to the hellhole Apokolips to be raised by the abusive Granny Goodness. Not only that, but giving him up before Scott can even have a real name, leaving him to go by a cruel nickname Granny gave him and the stage name of someone else whose life he's adopted. And while he tries his best to stay normal, Scott is shown to be fully capable of becoming a psychotic killer thanks to his traumatic childhood in Granny's hands. There's also him retaining some of the Chaotic Evilinvoked mindset that Darkseid's minions have in the form of being a Nightmare Fetishist; he takes some pleasure in listening to people being tortured.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Orion is the central antagonist at first, but dies in Issue 6. Scott's true enemy is his adoptive father and ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In issue 11, Darkseid is killed by Mister Miracle using a blade made from Orion’s bones.
  • Disney Death: Funky Flashman is killed by Big Barda. One or two issues later, he's alive and well, and the "nanny" to her baby. This is never explained or commented on by anyone.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Orion and Lightray seem to not really hold back on punishments. For instance, Forager is violently killed by Lightray for not thinking Orion is doing a good job.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Granny Goodness serves Scott and Barda Jell-O like a loving mother... while a starving prisoner is at the same table. Granny is torturing him by forcing him to watch other people eat.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The panels of the comic become jagged and interlaced with static distortions shortly before or during bizarre happenings or incongruities in the story, such as Barda's eyes changing color.
  • Dream Apocalypse: Subverted. Scott decides to live out his life in the now Darkseid-free Omega Sanction because escaping from it will erase his children from existence.
  • Driven to Suicide: The series opens to Scott having just slit his wrists. He attempts to pass it off as an attempt to "escape death", but it's clear that there is much more to it.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Scott goes out drinking with Ted Kord and Booster Gold before what is to be the last birthday party Jacob will ever have.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The war has a massive body toll, and among the casualties on the heroic side include Highfather, Orion, and Forager, and complicating matters is that the entire Fourth World the series takes place in is strongly implied to be a delusion imagined by Scott after he previously gave into the Anti-Life Equation. In spite of this, not only do Scott and Barda manage to fight their way back, up to killing Darkseid and ending the war, they also get to safely raise Jacob and a second child on the way, with Scott managing to carve out a semblance of happiness in a world that even he realizes is most likely false.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Darkseid is depicted as an incomprehensibly powerful and merciless alien deity who destroys entire worlds as he sees fit and whose supreme power is matched only by his merciless cruelty.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Seeing Scott Free with bloodied, slit wrists in the very first three pages oughta tell you what kind of book you're in for.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
  • Evil is Petty:
    • There's nine panels devoted to Darkseid eating a carrot with some ranch. He is a double-dipper.
    • A much darker show of Darkseid's cruelty is the fact that he's willing to surrender his war on New Genesis and life itself in exchange for Scott's son, allowing him to be raised on the Death World of Apokolips as Darkseid's heir. For what purpose this functionally serves is left unclear, but given the broad implication that the series takes place in a false reality formed by the despair-inducing Anti-Life Equation, it's likely that this is an ultimatum specifically meant to ruin Scott, forcing him to genuinely consider ending the war by recreating the most traumatic event in his life, but this time in the role of the father.
  • Eye Scream: Darkseid relinquishes the Anti-Life Equation by tearing out his own eye, since he can’t use the equation without the Omega Beams. Shortly after, Scott jabs his Orion-Blade through the empty eye socket to kill him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Mister Miracle tries to do this. He spends the last day prior to his execution just having a happy time with his wife and then quietly prepares to go to New Genesis to be killed. Fortunately for him, Barda intervenes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Forager claims that Orion is indulging in this. According to him, millions of bugs are getting thrown into the frontlines to act as glorified shields for the gods. He further claims that when the bugs sent their queen to talk with Orion about it, he responded by executing her.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kalibak tries his damnedest to be as civilized and diplomatic as possible, but his natural barbaric temper ultimately breaks through.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Oberon is drawn in greyscale when Scott is in color, which basically tells you right away that Oberon isn't really there.
    • The glowing light of Scott's sword hidden inside the veggie tray is visible for several panels before he uses it.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • King's Batman run namedrops Orion in an issue published after his death in this series, confirming that Orion is not only alive in the DCU, but whatever Scott is in isn't canon or permanent.
    • There are several scenes in between story beats showing Scott performing his daredevil escape acts to live audiences. Following the very first one on The Tonight Show, none of them properly show him escaping just before he's about to defy death — the fact the story continues onwards lets us know he survived, but it still creates a sense of anxiety regarding what exactly is going on with Scott's existence.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Big Barda kills Funky Flashman and the guards meant to take Scott to his execution while stark naked.
  • Gainax Ending: The most literal conflict of the series has a pretty clearcut ending, where issue #11 sees Scott and Barda successfully kill Darkseid, ending his grip on the war, but the actual series conclusion is quite... abstract: After the end of #11, where Metron appears and reveals that the reality Scott is in is not where [he] should be, additionally presenting a vision of "another world" and the heroes of it, issue #12 abruptly begins with Scott and Barda back at their apartment, except Scott is periodically visited by glitched-out visions of characters that had died throughout the series as he otherwise goes about his normal life. The visions of Forager and Orion respectively tell Scott that he's in hell or heaven after he "killed [him]self", tried to escape, found a way to escape, but then chose not to (which Scott broadly ignores), as well as a vision of Highfather explains that Scott had succumbed to the Anti-Life Equation and "almost escaped" (to which Scott responds with a fist to the face and a walk away). When confronted with a vision of Oberon, Scott finally admits that everything still feels wrong and that "I should've escaped, I shouldn't have escaped," but Oberon consoles him by reassuring that while things will break his heart, there's someone out there that will help him put everything back together. Regardless of however you intend to interpret it (is this all Scott's Dying Dream after succumbing to his suicide attempt? A hallucination conjured up by the Anti-Life Equation? Some other pocket reality created by The Lump? Or some kind of symbolic universe existing on a whole nother plane of Meta Fiction?), the ending shows Scott accepting his current life with Barda, Jacob, and a daughter on the way, promising that no matter what, he can always escape.
  • The Ghost: Though Darkseid casts a huge shadow over the story, his appearances are very sparse. He finally appears on-page at the very end of issue 6, and but he gains substantially more presence in issue 11 (incidentally where he gets his only few lines of dialogue).
  • Glamour: It's revealed that Scott and Barda are actually highly scarred and disfigured living under Granny and their usual looks are some kind of glamour revealed in a special mirror.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: It's heavily implied that Orion's Adaptational Villainy was invoked by him seeing "the face of God", suggested to be Darkseid's visage empowered by the Anti-Life Equation. Scott repeats the sentiment after he personally encounters Darkseid and suffers from a Thousand-Yard Stare. The truth is a little more complicated: the entire world that we've been shown is almost entirely a delusion observed by Scott following him being hit by the Anti-Life Equation, yet in seeming defiance of its intended purpose, it's one where he's able to end find peace.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Mister Miracle and Big Barda are heroes, but when they have to fight they do not hold back. Some of the most brutal death scenes in the comic happen at their hands.
  • Grave Humor: Oberon's tombstone's epitaph: "Get Me Out of Here!"
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Issue 2 opens with nine panels of a parademon eating the entrails out of a corpse.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kalibak loses his temper while negotiating a peace treaty with Mister Miracle. His rage is such that he mindlessly executes a prisoner for no apparent reason.
  • Happily Married: While they still have their off-days and personal disputes given the stressful events of the story, Mister Miracle and Big Barda retain their usual deep love and loyalty for one another. It's sadly not enough to curb Scott's depression, but their relationship remains a stalwart beacon of sincerity amidst other relationships that seem to be going off the rails.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The ending sees Scott realizing that the "reality" the series has taken place in is in fact "fake", but chooses not to escape it, instead continuing to live the life he forged for himself with his family. The heavy ambiguity of the situation and what constitutes as "escaping" leaves the framing quite abstract and subjective, but given Scott's initial attempt to escape the darkness of his life constituted of a suicide attempt, it's greatly implied doing so will be dire. Instead, he accepts the bittersweet truth that his trauma is something he'll have to contend with for the rest of his life, but he can still make the most of it by being with the people he loves, willing to make sacrifices to forge "meaning" in a seemingly "meaningless" world.
    Scott: Right when we came home, I picked up Jake and I looked in his face. [...] And it just felt like we were nothing. Our look was just one look among a million looks, a million years. [...] And I was scared, y'know. To be that small. Deep down, scared. I almost wanted to run away. It was a trap. But then, I thought. All those other people. They're not real anymore. Or yet. They went or they're coming, but they're not here now. And I'm here, y'know. And you're here. Jake's here. Even this new little girl. She's here. And then I wasn't scared. I didn't have to run. And I just enjoyed it. Seeing all of it. All of us, going back and forward. Like looking into the face of God.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Granny Goodness claims to have been Highfather's spy for a while, and tries to warn Scott of Orion's supposed plan to have him killed for power. She's killed by Barda in a matter of seconds after this revelation.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Stompa shows what a pinnacle of maturity she is when she does this in response to Mad Harriet saying “poo” as part of a rhyme.
  • Heroic BSoD: Scott is horrified after Darkseid kills Orion. He falls to his knees, helplessly saying "no" over and over.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: Scott mentions in issue #3 that even when he's "on leave" from the war on Apokolips, he still has to make a living on Earth, directly acknowledging his day performances as Mister Miracle as his job.
  • History Repeats: Much like Izaya, Scott is forced to trade his son to Apokolips to ensure at least a hiatus to New Genesis' war against them.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Darkseid's status as an evil god with a somewhat humanoid shape is played up. When he finally appears, the glitching effects flare up dramatically and violently, as if he's warping reality by simply being present. He's also nearly shrouded in darkness despite being in a brightly lit room.
  • I Am Not Pretty: It's shown that in spite of her feisty confidence, Barda is deep down very insecure about her height.
    Granny Goodness: [You], young lady. What happened to that darling pig-tailed girl? Oh, your cheeks were always so red!
    Barda: I'm... I'm too tall.
    Granny: Oh, darling. Don't you know by now? Everyone's too something.
  • I Am the Noun: A New God guard who's gotten into an argument with a colleague about what happened to the implicit first three Worlds that preceded the Fourth World is asked if he even knows theology. The guard responds with: "Dude, I'm a god. I am theology."
  • I Choose to Stay: The series ends with Scott deciding to stay in the alternate reality that Darkseid threw him into, because leaving it means he will have to abandon his children.
  • Ironic Echo: Lines of Kirby's narration from the original series are lifted wholesale and blasted into caption boxes when events far less heroic and vindicating are taking place.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Scott and Barda casually drink Bonewine, a drink brewed with the bone marrow of captured and deceased gods.
  • Insane Troll Logic: During Scott's unfairly-balanced trial with Orion as accuser, defender, and judge, the latter, after forcing Scott to confess that he hates nearly everything in his life, comes to the conclusion that Scott is hate, and since the Anti-Life Equation is hate, he must be the Anti-Life Equation.
  • Interface Screw: A rare non-video game example, as VHS-style distortion frequently disrupts the pages at random intervals.
  • Jerkass: Orion's a lot more douchey than usual. Not only does he frequently beat Scott into conscripting into the latest war against Darkseid, his tactics have resulted in tremendous deaths on New Genesis' end, earning the ire of many among his side. During Scott's realization that his depression and Sanity Slippage might have been the result of succumbing to the Anti-Life Equation, he surmises that possibly the same happened to Orion. By the end of the series, this is kind of true, in the sense that everything in Scott's current world is a product of the Anti-Life Equation.
  • Kangaroo Court: Mister Miracle's "trial" amounts to this. "In accordance with the laws of the Source", Highfather has to appoint an accuser, defender, and judge for the trial of a god. So Orion appoints himself for all three, with predictable results.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Orion forces Scott and Barda to greet him by kneeling.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In a cutaway gag in Issue #6, one New God guard asks his coworker if they're in the Fourth World, what happened to the therefore implied First, Second, and Third Worlds?
  • Large Ham: Funky Flashman, more so than usual. Literally every line of dialogue he has is not only yelled, but printed in a bolder font than others.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Darkseid is killed by Scott with a blade he made from Orion's bones, which they only had access to because Darkseid killed Orion and then left the body for Scott to see.
  • Like a Son to Me: Granny Goodness's behavior towards both Scott and Barda indicates this. She claims that her Heel–Face Turn into The Mole for Highfather is out of concern for Scott's safety, though her sudden death at Barda's hands leaves it up for debate whether or not she was being truthful.
  • Logical Weakness: Barda is so insanely durable that most mortal weapons can’t even break her skin, which becomes a problem when she’s in labor and the possibility that she might need a c-section is brought up. Scott and the doctors end up having to use a knife from Apokolips to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: In issue 11, it's revealed that everything that happened in this series took place in an illusion, which likely originated from Scott being hit with the Anti-Life Equation. Metron shows the protagonist a vision of the real world after Darkseid is killed, but Scott refuses to abandon the dream because, after conquering all of its obstacles, he feels he has finally earned happiness.
  • Lying Heroes, Honest Villains: While the conditions of the war on New Genesis and Apokolips are staggeringly heinous, both sides generally remain above board until it's the heroes that take advantage of peace negotiations.
    • In issue #2, Scott and Barda are sent out to do negotiate with Granny Goodness, but Orion secretly gives them the orders to instead assassinate her. Scott is left very hesitant, especially when Granny Goodness reveals to him that she was also secretly given orders by Orion to assassinate him first, but Barda completes the mission.
    • In the final deal with Darkseid, he remains surprisingly honorable about his side of the deal, withdrawing his troops and even ripping out his eye and handing it to Barda, sacrificing his use of the Anti-Life Equation. While this was indeed after Barda handed over Jacob to Desaad, Desaad allows Scott to say one last goodbye to Jacob before the exchange is finalized, which is when he signals Barda to bust out the Miracle Machine gun in an attempt to kill Darkseid.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Toyed with regarding Scott's worsened depression and general mental degredation; in addition to posing the question on whether or not the delusions, lapses, and errors we the audience are seeing are literally what Scott sees, the series also questions whether it's the result of something supernatural like the Anti-Life Equation, or was brought on naturally as the world around him forces him to confront and assess his traumatic past. By the end of the series, while it's strongly implied there is something supernaturally conjuring the world he's in, the actual question regarding his depression remains unanswered.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • King portrays Scott as hating his name, deconstructing its usage given how he got it. Scott Free wasn't the name that his dad, Highfather, gave him; it wasn't even given to him by Darkseid, but rather by Granny who would mock him for his escape attempts as a child before locking him back up. He's extremely bitter that, even with the times that they had met and spent time together, that his father refused to tell him what his true name was.
    • Invoked when Scott and Barda name their son Jacob, in reference to the Jacob’s Ladder that Scott used to escape the X-Pit. The name is also a reference to Jack Kirby, the creator of Scott, Barda, and the other New Gods, whose real name was Jacob Kurtzberg.
  • Meet Cute: Darkly parodied. Scott offers to play music to remind Barda of the time they first met. Barda notes that their "Meet Cute" moment was accompanied by the dying screams of terrified people on Apokolips. Scott then has his Mother Box play just that.
  • Mental Health Recovery Arc: Scott's main personal conflict, possibly being an even bigger focus of the series than the actual god war that propels it. He begins the series so overwhelmed by the darkness of his life that he attempted suicide, and the rest of the series is him trying to come to terms with it and remain sane despite everything that's being taken away from him. While the most literal conflict of him potentially being trapped in a false reality is unresolved, he does find himself at peace with his trauma, with a loving family that he's still willing to live and keep fighting for.
  • Mercy Kill: Mister Miracle and Big Barda are implied to have authorized the euthanasia of Oberon, who was dying of throat cancer.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • Scott not only has a Crucified Hero Shot as well as a technical resurrection (recovering from a suicide attempt that is played off as "escaping death"), but is directly referred to by plenty of people as the "Son of God." Whether they're talking about Highfather or Darkseid is up for debate.
    • Orion seems to be this to a degree, as Lightray refers to him as his lord and savior.
  • Mind Screw: Something is definitely wrong with Scott Free's life and the world around him:
    • Early in the first issue, Scott suddenly insists that Barda's brown eyes were actually blue, only for her to gently deny it and assure him he's just misremembering things. They're back to being blue in the final page of the issue.
    • Granny Goodness appears on G. Gordon Godfrey's show... despite having been killed in the previous issue.
    • Funky Flashman is alive again in Issue 8, despite being brutally killed by Barda in Issue 5. Nobody acknowledges this.
    • In Issue 8, there's a scene where Scott is wearing a Superman shirt. The "S" crest changes colors between panels. It's not likely that it's a coloring mistake.
  • Misery Builds Character: Orion's ghost is understanding with Scott's decision to stay in a dream world where he's happy, but is disappointed that he's rejected a life of struggle and challenges that makes life worth it in the end. He basically tells Scott that now that his life is nice and easy, he might as well just die.
  • The Mole: Granny Goodness claims to have switched sides and acted as a spy for Highfather. Her sudden death at the hands of Barda leaves it up for debate whether or not she was telling the truth.
  • Mood Dissonance: The narration in the story has a habit of starkly contrasting with the events they appear in. A prime example is the grandiose Jack Kirby narration in the first issue's first pages, which contrasts the imagery of Scott lying on his bathroom floor in costume, having slit his wrists.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Issue 6 is a somewhat comedic story where Scott and Barda invade Orion's base and nonchalantly dispose of his troops while discussing house renovation, which leads to the revelation that Barda is pregnant. However, the ending takes a dark turn with the Wham Shot of Orion's death at Darkseid's hands.
    • Issue 8 is half Scott raising his son, including watching him take his first steps and listening to him say his first word, and half Scott leading an extremely bloody war on Apokolips.
  • Morality Pet: It's implied that Scott has become this to Granny Goodness, leading her to become Izaya's spy within Darkseid's forces. Scott relates a time when Granny gave him mercy by releasing him early from a torture device and warmly embracing him.
  • Mundanger: In a series involving a terrifyingly bloody war between gods, the major conflict as the series nears its end is surprisingly mundane: Scott and Barda considering having to sacrifice their only son to Darkseid in exchange for ending the war. Even more astounding is that Darkseid is willing to relinquish everything he'd previously fought for, even the Anti-Life Equation itself. The entire fate of an ages-long war all comes down to the future of a seemingly normal toddler.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The opening and ending narration to each issue is taken from its corresponding issue from Jack Kirby's original Mister Miracle run.
    • The use of "Darkseid is" originally dates back to Grant Morrison's run of JLA (1997), introduced as recurring catchphrase/Badass Boast by Darkseid himself.
    • Mister Miracle has a poster for one of his performances hanging in his living room; it's the cover of the first issue of Kirby's original Miracle Man comic.
    • Thor's helmet can be seen on the ground during a battle scene in issue 2. This references not only the fact that Jack Kirby helped create that series, but also an obscure bit of trivia about the New Gods mythos; that Kirby dropped some subtle hints that it was actually a Stealth Sequel to his Thor run.
    • Oberon's surname is shown to be Kurtzberg, the original form of Jack Kirby's surname.
    • The name for Scott’s son Jacob is both the birth name of Jack Kirby and a reference to the biblical character who “wrestled with God.” Incidentally, Jack Kirby has actually done a rendition of Jacob wrestling the angel in his very own style at one point in time.
    • George Pérez's artwork of Darkseid appears as a Colossus of Rhodes-style statue on Apokolips.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Scott and Barda are somewhat nostalgic of their time on Apokolips because that's where they met and fell in love. They even play some recorded soundbites of people being tortured there to get them into a romantic mood as they're stuck in traffic.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Someone named Betty stayed over at Scott and Barda's condo and got stabbed by the Stab-O-Tron when she went to get water.
    • Issue 11 has Barda talk about how she and Scott, both wanting to up the ante in Scott's escape acts, have toured the universe in search of the most dangerous objects and weapons just to make their shows more interesting. One of these include the Miracle Machine, which Scott and Barda took energy from to create a weapon to blast Darkseid with.
  • No-Sell: Darkseid is able to shrug off a blast from a gun powered by the Miracle Machine.
  • Not So Above It All: An entire page is dedicated to showing Darkseid, one of the most evil entities in all of DC, enjoying nibblets from Scott and Barda's veggie trays.
  • Not So Stoic: Orion spends most of the story looking totally unfazed by everything happening around him and even when he's angry his expression doesn't change much. But when Mister Miracle loses his shit during the trial and decks Orion, all the latter can do is stare with a shocked, almost terrified look on his face before he composes himself... and eats a carrot.
  • Off with His Head!: Granny Goodness gets her head sliced off by Orion. Through the course of nine panels.
  • Only Sane Woman: When the Female Furies visit Scott and Barda at the hospital, Bernadeth twice expresses her desire to kill the protagonist, Mad Harriet keeps spouting nonsensical poems, and Stompa barely emotes while staying in place with her arms crossed. Lashina is the only member of the squad to behave in a sensible manner, as she apologizes for their intrusion and shows interest on Barda's well-being.
    Lashina: Tell Barda I told them we weren't supposed to come. (...) Seriously, I told them.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Funky stops his Large Ham tendencies to tell off Scott for being dismissive of his son's imagination.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Darkseid spends the whole series sitting on his throne and watching things unfold with detached amusement. He only appears in person twice, in issue 6 to kill Orion and issue 11, to die.
  • Painting the Medium: There are various moments where the art suddenly acquires a strange, VHS-style static effect over it. This may or may not represent Mister Miracle's degrading sanity.
    • Funky Flashman's dialogue is always in a slightly bigger, bolder font than others to represent his Large Ham tendencies.
    • Scenes taking place on Apokolips or involve Darkseid himself have black panel borders.
  • Peace Conference: Tying in the supernatural and mundane, peace negotiations become a recurring element in trying to end Darkseid's latest invasion of New Genesis, but a wrench is persistently thrown into the mix. Issue #2 sees the arrangement of one between Scott and Barda with Granny Goodness, but the two are secretly given orders by Orion to instead use the opportunity to assassinate her. Granny does gets killed, but the revelations she gives to Scott before then only drive a further wedge between him and Orion. Proper negotiations take up the entirety of issue #9 between Scott, Kalibak (representing Darkseid), and their respective delegators, and things remain heated, yet clinical until Darkseid gives a stunning offer to withdraw his troops and sacrifice the Anti-Life Equation... in exchange for Scott and Barda's son.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Scott relates to Barda a time when Granny Goodness genuinely comforted him after putting him through another torture device.
    • In issue 7, The Female Furies come to Earth out of concern when Barda goes into labor. Besides verbally threatening Scott, they remain peaceful.
  • Physical God: It's amazingly casual how the New Gods remind us of this fact. Two unnamed, faceless guards discuss theology only for one of them to point out that they are theology.
  • The Power of Hate: Orion insinuates that this is what really motivates Mister Miracle, suggesting that he hates his life and many of the people in it, wanting to escape from it all. His obsession with escaping things, according to Orion, is a subconscious reflection of that.
  • Pregnant Badass: Big Barda fights her way through the Highfather's forces for most of issue 6. At the end of the comic, she reveals she is pregnant.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Scott wears various T-shirts of other DC superheroes throughout the series, but the last one he's shown wearing has an image of Adam Strange, an early hint of the series' upcoming "new and thrilling successor": Strange Adventures (2020).
  • Prophecy Twist: Darkseid is prophecied to be killed by his own son, which everyone assumes is Orion. However, Granny Goodness casts doubts on this, implying than Scott is, in a way, Darkseid's true son. In Issue #11, Scott kills Darkseid with a Fahren-Knife made of Orion's bones, essentially making both interpretations true.
  • The Quiet One: Darkseid only has two whole lines in the entire series. Most of his messages are relayed through others.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Scott repeatedly screams "no" when he finds Orion's bloody corpse.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Barda gives one to Orion, mocking him for thinking that being the son of Darkseid makes him naturally stronger than her and Scott. Unlike the two of them, he wasn't raised on the war hardened Apokolips, but on the mushy, peaceful lands of New Genesis.
    • From Desaad, who is actually Metron:
    Desaad: You are a disappointment, Scott Free. You were given the greatest gift one can receive. You were given pain. Pain makes you steady, strong. Able to conquer. Rule. But what did you do with your pain? Performed. Married. Bred. What a waste. What a pity.
  • Recursive Canon: Besides all the shirts Scott wears that bear the insignia of various superheroes he knows personally, there's enough demand for Batman merchandise for birthday party merch to exist. Jacob's favorite toy is a Batman plushie.
  • Red Herring:
    • Issue 7's mention of The Lump suggests that the reality Scott is stuck in is actually within the entity's mind, as the creature is a living Lotus-Eater Machine. While Scott is indeed in one, it turns out that the Lump has no involvement in what's going on and Scott really is in some sort of alternate reality caused by his suicide.
    • Once Jacob Free is born, the comic drops a lot of hints that something really terrible or sinister is about to happen around him: on top of Scott calling him a "Lump", the limited color palette while depicting his birth gives him a very disturbingly Darkseid-esque complexion (not helped by Barda semi-affectionately calling him the "grandson of Darkseid"), and his most developed babbling is usually some form of "Dah! Dah!", making you paranoid enough that his first words are going to be "Darkseid is." If there's anything at all unnatural about him, it's never revealed in the series; the real conflict stems from how Darkseid attempts to bargain everything that had been of value to his conquest for ages, all for Jacob's sacrifice.
  • Revealing Continuity Lapse: From the very first issue, there's a lot to suggest that something is very wrong with either Scott's reality, or Scott himself (or both). A lot of this is stuff existing a little outside of the story and on the comic book medium itself, such as the various sporadic "glitches" of the imagery and the conspicuously jagged pacing between certain issues, but some are relatively more overt, all illustrating to the viewer that very little, if anything in the series can or should be taken at face value.
    • In the first issue, Scott — admittedly still woozy while recovering from his suicide attempt — comments how Barda's eyes are all of a sudden brown, not their usual blue. She corrects him by saying that they've always been brown, except in the final page, they have indeed been changed back to blue again.
    • Barda kills Funky Flashman in issue 5, primarily because he was in the way of her rescuing Scott. Suddenly in issue 8, he's alive again and in both Barda and Scott's good graces.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • The Casual Danger Dialogue in Issue 6 takes on a whole other meaning when you learn at the end that Barda is pregnant.
    • In Issue 11, we see several unattached speech bubbles beginning with "You are a disappointment, Scott Free." It's only on a second read that you recognize Darkseid is not the one saying this - it's Metron.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The comic is almost always in a strict nine panel format, with only six pages in the series deviating from the pattern. This forces conversations and actions to compensate for the limited space, almost as if Scott and the other characters are trapped in their own comic, and it's up to Mister Miracle to help them all escape. This also results in a few nifty symbolic cues, such as images being split across several panels — giving the impression of being behind the bars of a cage — depicting characters in conversation not seeing eye to eye by segregating them into individual panels (note how Scott and Barda are almost always able to share a single panel), and calling attentions to disruptions in reality when something changes in the format, most infamously with the intrusive proclamations that "Darkseid is."
  • Satanic Archetype: Darkseid is directly referred to as the Devil by Scott.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: One of the biggest questions posed throughout the series is whether or not it's "real", both in the sense of whether or not it fits in the DC universe's canon, and also in the "canon" of Scott Free's own life. In issue #5, Scott does an extended navel-gazing deconstructing Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" philosophy, questioning whether he, his loved ones, or the emerging roots of his trauma really "exist". Issue #9, meanwhile, has Kanto relay a tale about birds encountering a painting of grapes, ruminating how "to the birds, it isn't art, it's just what is, and what's better than what is?" The fate of Scott's existence is still left quite ambiguous even at the end of the series — the pointed fracturing of reality makes it clear that it's very likely "fake", but what that actually means is still a mystery. In any case, Scott doesn't really care, because at least for now, he ends with a loving family and a happy future in sight, so it's "real" enough to him.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Once Orion puts Scott on trial for potentially harboring the Anti-Life Equation inside of him, he immediately makes it clear just how badly lopsided it will be by using his authority as the current Highfather — the man in charge of the laws, including those of appointing legal personnel during the trial of gods — to appoint himself as accuser, defender, and judge.
  • Secret Test of Character: Issue 11 implies that the entire series was one for Scott, and it was Metron observing him.
  • Series Fauxnale: The series provides a self-contained closure for the New Gods much like how Jack Kirby had wanted before DC meddled with his plans. Orion and Darkseid are dead and while the war between New Genesis and Apokolips continues, Scott is Happily Married and with children. However, the reality of everything that had happened by the end is still up for debate and the book leaves it open for anyone to come in and free Scott from the confines of the story for more adventures in the DC Universe.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During Mister Miracle's fight with a Parademon in issue 2, a winged helmet similar to Thor's can be seen on the ground.
    • Regarding Jacob:
      Funky Flashman: That's my Jack! He's the King!
    • Funky Flashman is an homage to Stan Lee.
      • At one point, he refers to Scott and Barda as "True Believers" and randomly yells out "Excelsior!"
      • In Issue 10, he tells Scott about how he and Jacob have been creating comics together, and gives full credit for the story to Jacob while relegating his role to simply "writing the words." The story in question is about two cosmic entities called Stareater and Golden Retriever, where the former tries to eat Earth's sun after being led there by the latter, his herald. It's a parody of The Coming of Galactus, with Stareater and Golden Retriever being the stand-ins for Galactus the Devourer of Worlds and the Silver Surfer, respectively.
    • The variant cover to the final issue is one to Duck Amuck, with Scott struggling in the exact same pose as Daffy Duck against Darkseid. The original script for issue one also included one so as to foreshadow what is truly wrong with Scott's reality.
    • The second page of issue 12 is a reference to Dallas, specifically the reveal that all of season nine had been a dream of the character Pam Ewing. She wakes up, hears the shower running, goes to check, and finds her ex-husband Bobby—who had apparently died in season eight—who greets her with a cheerful "Good morning!" It's entirely in keeping with the comic's ambiguous reality, although in this case, it's used to indicate they're still in some kind of unreality.
  • Shower of Angst: In issue #10 as Scott and Barda are forced to seriously consider the deal to sacrifice Jacob to Darkseid, we get a full page of Scott trying to take a shower as Barda gently tries to coax him outside by reassuring that their time with Jacob was an eventful one, and that they can at least celebrate his first birthday before surrendering him over. By the end of the nine panels, Scott has silently and slowly huddled to the ground in despair.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To Final Crisis. Both deal with the deaths of the New Gods in an epic, possibly final war between New Genesis and Apokolips, with Mister Miracle's near-deaths coinciding with Darkseid's apparent victory and Darkseid obtaining the Anti-Life Equation. Both also have turning points where Orion is killed. However, Final Crisis is a Grand Finale for the pre-New 52 New Gods and an epic Crisis Crossover involving all of the DC Multiverse. Mister Miracle meanwhile is a quiet standalone maxi-series that focuses on Scott Free's more personal emotional troubles as opposed to the fate of reality. Final Crisis also seems to embrace the neverending battle against evil but Mister Miracle encourages those willing to listen to go against the status quo and embrace changes such as starting a family or finally doing away with the Big Bad.
  • Status Quo Is God: In spite of Scott's decision to stay in the Omega Sanction and the deaths of several major New Gods, Oberon implicitly assures Scott that someone out there will get him out. Sure enough, Doomsday Clock #9 shows Scott with Barda and the Justice League, strongly hinting that he indeed escaped.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • The "face of God" muttered throughout the series is heavily implied to be Darkseid's, which Orion demonstrates by showing Scott his true, disfigured, very Darkseid-y face. This is supported by Scott muttering that he "saw the face of God" after his encounter with Darkseid himself.
    • When he's born, the very gray Jacob Free looks a little too much like an infant Darkseid.
  • Superdickery: Maybe. Given that Mister Miracle is heavily implied to be losing his mind, it's questionable whether Orion and Lightray are really doing the dickish things we see them doing here.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Double subverted. Various superheroes, including Superman himself, apparently visited Scott to lend their support after his suicide attempt. From there, they stay out of the story so far.
  • Surreal Horror: Loads of Black Comedy, Mind Screw, psychological introspection and gruesome violence done in Mitch Gerads' tense, paranoid art style makes for a very unsettling read.
  • Symbol Swearing: All of the profanity harder than "damn" or "Hell" is censored this way, despite all the bloody violence being displayed in full, graphic detail. It's one more thing that makes the comic that much more surreal and unsettling.
  • Talking to the Dead: The book ends with Scott talking to the various characters who have died throughout the story, including Granny, Orion, Forager, Highfather, Oberon, and Darkseid.
  • Take That!:
    • Funky Flashman, who is a Stan Lee Expy, is shown playing with Jacob Free, whom he nicknames "Jack." In other words, Stan Lee is being condescending towards Jack Kirby and treating him like a baby instead of with the proper respect he deserves. Eventually subverted when Funky asserts that the story he and Jacob came up together is fully the latter's idea, and chastises Scott for calling his son's story nonsense. This is also a jab towards those who see comic books as a childish and lowbrow medium. As silly as they can get, stories like those made by Jack Kirby and others were stories they really wanted to tell to those willing to listen, and that's what truly matters in the end.
    • invoked In the final issue, Scott has a final talk with Oberon and asks if he did the right thing not escaping from the Omega Sanction. Oberon basically tells him that he did, that the real world aka the DC Universe is ridiculously cluttered with its adherence to continuity and its constant Crisis Crossovers, with the actual real world being the one where Scott is Happily Married with children. Note that Jack Kirby originally wanted his Fourth World books to be purely self-contained from the larger DC Universe, but Executive Meddling forced him to include characters like Superman and others into the fray, ultimately leaving Kirby unable to properly finish his magnum opus due to canonizing his characters into the DC continuity. The conversation also ends with an implicit assurance that in spite of the series ending like this, some other writer will eventually free Scott from this reality so he can have more adventures in the DCU.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Issue 1 has a scene where Scott and Oberon are hanging out at their studio. Big Barda walks in saying she's worried because Scott is in the studio by himself. When Scott says he was with Oberon, Barda reminds him that Oberon died of cancer months ago, and then "Oberon" promptly disappears. This and incidents like it seem to imply that Mister Miracle is losing his mind, bringing into question how much of what we're seeing is real. By the final issue, this appears to be subverted; the reality he in is false and faulty, but Scott's perception of it seems to be fairly normal and reliable, depression and PTSD notwithstanding.
  • Time Skip: Enough time passes between Issues #6 and #7 for Barda to go from a month or two pregnant to labor.
  • The Topic of Cancer: In the first issue, it's revealed that Oberon had passed away after contracting throat cancer, no doubt from smoking all of his cigars in the original comics. Scott is still shaken and in denial of his death... possibly — it's unclear if his waking conversation with Oberon before Barda reminds him of his death may be an in-universe reality screw or an actual mental delusion.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Scott is noted to be holding on to Oberon's cigar boxes, after the latter died. Barda wants him to get rid of them, feeling that they're just sitting around now.
  • Tranquil Fury: Scott describes Darkseid as "always mad", though said villain rarely if ever shows emotions.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: After The Highfather known for years is suddenly killed offscreen during the first issue, Orion takes up his mantle, which ends up becoming this considering he's on a significantly worse mean streak than usual. It only ends up being rectified once Orion himself is abruptly killed, passing the title onto Scott.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Despite Barda killing him in Issue 5, Funky Flashman is, apparently, alive and well in Issue 8, looking none the worse for wear. Somehow.
    • The Metron that appears at the end of Issue 11 is not the same one from Issue 2, but the New 52 version, which was killed during Darkseid War.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Granny Goodness makes serious accusations against Orion with claims of him attempting a Uriah Gambit to get Scott killed, as well as apparently assassinating Highfather himself to gain power over New Genesis. Her death shortly after makes things even more ambiguous. Not helped by Orion's own death later either.
  • Uriah Gambit: Granny Goodness claims that Orion tried this with Mister Miracle and Big Barda. It's not clear yet if she was telling the truth.
  • [Verb] This!: Subverted. Mister Miracle plans to shout “Escape this!” when he kills Darkseid, but when the time comes, he just screams “FUCK YOU!” over and over.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Big Barda. Not only does she beat up or threaten almost anybody who threatens Scott, but in issue 5 she straight up murders Funky Flashman and two New Genesis soldiers to stop them from taking Scott to be executed.
  • War Is Hell: As is the case in Tom King's work — most of the most grotesque and violent scenes in the series comes from the battles on Apokolips, all shown in viscerally gutsy detail, with constant reminders that what we see of Scott's skirmishes are but a mere fraction of the total lives lost. Best depicted in Issue 8, when Scott dumps the body of the dead soldier in a trench full of corpses. There are A LOT of corpses.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Kalibak is pissed when Scott implies that Darkseid only showed favor to him because he was the only one of his children around.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue 6. Barda is pregnant and Orion is murdered by Darkseid.
    • Issue 7. Barda gives birth to Jacob Free and the nature of what's wrong with Scott's reality is implicitly revealed.
    • Issue 11 tops them all. Scott manages to kill Darkseid and save the day... at which New52 Metron arrives and reveals to Mister Miracle just what is going on.
  • Wham Line:
    • After their son is born, Scott describes him as a lump. The Wham comes when the ending text teases The Lump, a creature that is a living Lotus-Eater Machine. However, this turned out to be a red herring.
    • During the peace negotiations, Darkseid's emissaries makes this shattering offer that throws the remainder of the series into question:
      ''"Darkseid, humbly, asks only one thing. He asks for the custody of his only grandchild, Jacob Free. He asks that the boy be raised on Apokolips. That he be raised here as the one, true heir to Darkseid."
  • Wham Shot: The series builds up to Orion being the Big Bad, but issue 6 ends with the dramatic reveal that he has been killed by Darkseid, who goes on to become the main antagonist.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Scott is shocked to discover what appears to be a baby Parademon mourning over the death of what is presumably its parent. When Lightray executes it, Scott lets out a Big "NO!" in protest.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Lightray kills a baby Parademon.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • After the events of issue 6, Mister Miracle becomes the new leader of New Genesis.
    • After Darkseid's death, Kalibak has taken over as Apokolips's king.

The "Mister Miracle" series will not be continued—
Its new and thrilling successor will soon be on sale!
Thank you
-Tom, Mitch, Clayton, Nick, Jamie, and Brittany.

Alternative Title(s): Mister Miracle